(The Micronauts #48 cover art by Ed Hannigan stolen from Marvel.)
Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 112012:
“He was one of the writers who thought that comics should be more than just guys in skin-tight suits hitting each other and saving the world,” Claremont says. “He was asking, ‘What kind of a world are we trying to save? What kind of lessons can we impart to our young and impressionable readership?’ The trick was to find a way to do it so that you’re not preaching, but you’re also telling a cracking good story that will make the reader turn the page and bring the reader back next issue so you can have an ongoing and more lasting effect. Bill did that.” -Chris Claremont on Bill Mantlo.
(Pic of Bill Mantlo stolen from ROM blog for fans who aren't dicks.)
- The great Bill Mantlo celebrated a birthday this week. Mantlo's story is both inspiring and tragic. From fan, to fill-in writer, to one of Marvel's most prolific writers, to becoming a public defender in the Bronx to a tragic hit and run accident that robed him of his ability to work and live a full life and robbed us of one of that era's greatest dreamers. I've re-read a lot of Mantlo comics over the past few years and sought out and read a lot of his work that I had missed. Mantlo was not the best comics writer but he had some great ideas and when I look at the comics of the 80s he probably wrote more of my favorite comic books and characters than anyone else. Super heroes, androids, robots, Mircronauts, Transformers, Space Knights, raccoons, talking ducks, bug people etc. they all had instantly identifiable personalities in his hands. Marvel handed him lifeless toys that should not have made for good comic books and he turned them into grand adventures with huge casts where each character was human and individual. Many, many writers in comics, TV and movies have since failed at what Mantlo seemed to do with ease. CBR has a list of some of what they think are his best stories. Here is the lengthy story from a year or so ago about his health. I highly recommend this ROM blog for some quality ongoing stuff on Mantlo as well as some great old ROM stuff. Here is Jim Shooter on the early ROM comics. And I guess now is as good a time as any for me to yell in the general direction of Marvel and say that they need to do whatever it takes for them to get the ROM and Micronauts rights squared away at least to the point where the material can be re-printed in collections and that some of that money needs to go to Bill Mantlo. Because duh.
(Image of a young Barack Obama and his family stolen from Daily Echo.)
- President Barack Obama was re-elected this week in the United States of America. There will be much debate, study and gnashing of teeth over the Republican party's many, many failures in this election season. I think the most obvious is that Mitt Romney was an awful candidate that should have never been nominated. But the GOP has some serious problems. I don't know when it started but I do remember when I first noticed their biggest problem. It is very simple. To win an election, you need more votes than the other candidate. Therefore, it is very stupid to exclude people from your party. Arithmetic. I don't know when the GOP started excluding people but I can remember the re-election campaign of George H. W. Bush in 1992. I remember Bush and the GOP talking about "family values". I remember them condemning single mothers. They liked to point at the pop star Madonna as an example of the certain path to hell. The music, movies and video games that I liked, they condemned. That was very stupid of them. They lost me. Maybe it was because the Cold War was over and they ran out of ideas. Reagan's enemy was clear. The Soviets. The new GOP's enemy was... Madonna? By the time George W. Bush was running for president in 2000 it was clear that they did not have any intention of serving the whole of America. They just wanted their strong base. The strong 50% or so of the country that believed in their same idea of "family values". Mainly white people. Old white people nostalgic for a Leave it to Beaver ideal of what the American family is supposed to be. Young white people brought up in those kinds of families. And part of the way they kept that base happy was by excluding anyone that did not fit that mold. Immigrants, minorities, homosexuals, single parents, mixed race, people of different faiths etc. And it worked for a while. They could keep that focused group of people fired up and unified. But it could not last. The numbers just could not hold up. I see America as a family. The American family sits at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You look around the table and there are aunts and uncles that have come out of the closet as gay. There are young people that are living as openly gay. There are children of mixed race. Adopted children from different countries. There are children of single parents. There are relatives of different faiths and nationalities. And it's easy to live in your little Leave it to Beaver world when it is not around you but when the gay person is in your family your perception starts to change. When then new grandchild in your family is of a different race you start to be more open to different races. One day, most of us woke up and realized that the American family at the Thanksgiving dinner table looks a lot more like that picture of Barack Obama's family up above than it does Leave it to Beaver. And you can continue to ignore it and you can shut people out but its going to be a very lonely Thanksgiving.
(Image stolen from Robot 6.)
- Paul Pope has a new website and allegedly, Battling Boy will come out one day.
- A great many people continue to struggle after hurricane Sandy. Artist J.K. Woodward lost his home and is selling some items to get back on his feet. That New Mutants print is rad.
- Speaking of good causes, my good friend Josh Latta could use your help in helping his girlfriend Erin's father in what may be his final days.
- And speaking of Josh Latta, go play this game he illustrated.
- And speaking of friends, another great podcast from Robert Newsome.
- And speaking of Robert Newsome, go look at that Atomic Elbow t-shirt. In case you are a loser and don't know these kind of things, Atomic Elbow is a zine about wrestling that occasionally includes some comics or illustrations from some of my favorite cartoonists. And I wrote something for it once too? And that t-shirt is super cool. Buy two and send me one. X-Large. Thanks!
- I like West Virginia, it's a beautiful city.
- Marvel comics is burning in hell.
- Just give the Siegels the copyright they are still going to let you make your stupid movies and comic books you evil jerk faces.
- Kurtzman and Feldstein file suite to get some rights back as well.
- I thought he was born in Cleveland.
- The Funky history of comics.
- Hot new single from the upstart British pop star Alan Moore.
- Oh, and back on November the 5th, it was the 5th of November. Again.
- Jon Lewis interviewed.
- Chris Pitzer told us something that we did not know.
(Image stolen from Mike Mitchell.)
- Stay classy Mort Weisinger.
- What is the correct response to seeing Bigfoot? Run? How fast is big foot?
- Chris Sims on Walt Simonson's new Batman book. I've seen it in the store and it looks gorgeous but comic books are very expensive.
- Ken Parille on Steve Ditko.
- My book club, re-read, read along, whatever, dedicated to Grant Morrison's The Invisibles continues. Relive the 90's through my comic collection!
- And speaking of me, file under other celebrated it's 5th anniversary this week. I'm still waiting for your gift. Rye whiskey and or cash are the standard blog 5th anniversary gifts.
- Flagpole talks about the Jack Davis exhibit curated by Patrick Dean.
- Metamorpho! Meta-morph-oh!
THE BEST SINGLE NEW PRINT COMIC I READ LAST WEEK
(Image stolen from Superman Homepage.)
...was Superman 13 by Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort and several other people. Scott Lobdell gives a very solid Grant Morrison impersonation in this comic. It's all big mad ideas, fast clever dialog and hyper paced storytelling. Which is what this comic needed from the start. But who cares? Forget Lobdell. What matters is Kenneth Rocafort. This guy is bringing it. Normally I would say that his style is way to fussy for me but here it works somehow. It looks like science fiction. Every line looks like science fiction and that's how I want my Superman. You can take a truck load of Alex Ross mythology Superman and shove it up your expletive. I don't need that. I don't want that. I want Superman fast. Superman kinetic. And since this is a reboot thing, I think he should be young and sexy. I want Superman fighting 300 foot tall space dragons. And that is what this comic book is. (And yeah, Clark Kent is still Harry Potter but we can just skip those pages.) Finally, finally, finally, the New 52 Superman comic book is about Superman flying and punching things. Thank you!
(Image stolen from Brad McGinty.)
- Professional cartoonist, animator and part time Christmas archaeologist Brad McGinty has uncovered a long lost Christmas/monster/horror film and had a variety of holiday cards to commemorate this historic find. Seriously people, you need to get in on this right now. Brad's card from last year was hit of the season.
- Oh, and also scroll down to look at some of the amazing sketches you could have gotten if you had already bought one of Brad McGinty's t-shirts.
- And finally... USA Holiday Devil Battles Jewish Lamp...
Oh, and one more last thing! Did you know you can leave comments on these posts here at file under other? It's true! And, I'll probably respond. Twitter and facebook killed the message boards but that's no reason why you can't argue with me, praise me or leave me recipes. It's your intronet. Have fun!
And that's just a taste of some of the interesting things going out there in the wonderful world of comics and things. I can't keep up with it all but I do keep up with a lot of it on twitter and I try to re-tweet the good stuff. You should probably follow me there. If you did something to make comics better this week then high-five!
Your best pal ever,
p.s. Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.